Orhan Pamuk, Monika Mann, Nikki Giovanni, Harry Crews, Louise Erdrich, Mascha Kaléko, Jan Engelman, Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Bowen

De Turkse schrijver Orhan Pamuk werd geboren op 7 juni 1952 in Istanbul. Zie ook alle tags voor Orhan Pamuk op dit blog.

Uit: The Red-Haired Woman (Vertaald door Ekin Oklap)

“The settlement was fifteen minutes on foot from our well. It was the town of Öngören, population 6,200, according to the blue sign with enormous white letters marking the entrance. After two days of ceaseless digging, two meters, we took a break on the second afternoon and went down to Öngören to acquire more supplies.
Ali took us to the town carpenter first. Having dug past two meters, we could no longer shovel out the earth by hand, so like all welldiggers, we had to build a windlass. Master Mahmut had brought some lumber in the landowner’s pickup, but it wasn’t enough. When he explained who we were and what we were up to, the inquisitive carpenter said, “Oh, you mean that land up there!”
Over the following days, whenever we went down to the town from “that land up there,” Master Mahmut made a point of dropping by the carpenter; the grocer, who sold cigarettes; the bespectacled tobacconist; and the ironmonger, who stayed open late. After digging all day, I relished going to Öngören with Master Mahmut for an evening stroll by his side, or to sit in the shade of the cypress and pine trees on some little bench, or at a table outside some coffeehouse, on the stoop of some shop, or in the train station.
It was Öngören’s misfortune to be overrun by soldiers. An infantry battalion had been stationed there during World War II to defend Istanbul against German attacks via the Balkans, and Russian attacks via Bulgaria. That purpose, like the battalion itself, was soon forgotten. But forty years later, the unit was still the town’s greatest source of income, and its curse.
Most of the shops in the town center sold postcards, socks, telephone tokens, and beer to soldiers on day passes. The stretch known among locals as Diners’ Lane was lined with various eateries and kebab shops, also catering to the military clientele. Surrounding them were pastry shops and coffeehouses that would be jammed with soldiers during the day—especially on weekends—but in the evenings, when these places emptied out, a completely different side of Öngören emerged. The gendarmes, who patrolled the area vigilantly, would have to pacify carousing infantrymen and break up fistfights among privates, in addition to restoring the peace disturbed by boisterous civilians or by the music halls when the entertainment got too loud.“

Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul, 7 juni 1952)


De Duitse schrijfster Monika Mann werd als vierde kind van Thomas Mann geboren op 7 juni 1910 in München. Zie ook alle tags voor Monika Mann op dit blog.

Uit: Das fahrende Haus

„Fast ohne Unterbrechung zwölf Jahre in einem Land gelebt zu haben – soll ich sagen, daß es die besten Jahre waren? –, reichen aus, ihm Treue und Verbundenheit zu bewahren fürs Leben.
Ein Gesetz der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika jedoch erlaubt ihrem naturalisierten Bürger nicht mehr als fünf Jahre seiner ununterbrochenen Abwesenheit. Überschreitet er diese Frist, verliert er die Staatsbürgerschaft. Wer aber will den Kontinent so mir nichts, dir nichts wechseln, noch dazu um eines Gesetzes willen, das unserer Zeit entwachsen, nicht würdig scheint? Denn in Europa leben, heißt nicht, fern von Amerika leben, heißt nicht, das verlernen und vergessen, was man in der Neuen Welt gelernt und erfahren und sich errungen hat. Die Länder Europas, sind sie nicht so etwas wie amerikanische Provinzen (nicht zu ihrer Schande sei’s gefragt!), und sind die Vereinigten Staaten Amerikas nicht so etwas wie europäische Ableger? Leben wir nicht in einer Welt, die immer mehr zusammenrückt, die unvermeidlich, bei allem Zaudern und Widerstand sich vereinheitlicht und vereinigt? Während ich meine amerikanische Staatsbürgerschaft niederlege, lese ich Emerson und Whitman, schreibe ich meine «Amerikanische Novelle», denk’ ich an zwölf, wenn nicht immer leichte, so doch helle Jahre in New York und Los Angeles, New England, Vermont und Maine . . . Ja, es ist vor allem Amerikas Licht, das so unvergeßlich ist. Der Himmel der Neuen Welt ist heller als der Himmel der Alten Welt. (Ein grüner Baum wirkt dort dunkler als hier, zuweilen fast schwarz gegen das lichte Blau.)”

Monika Mann (7 juni 1910 – 17 maart 1992)
Thomas en Monika Mann, rond 1940


De Amerikaanse dichteres en schrijfster Nikki Giovanni werd geboren op 7 juni 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Zie ook alle tags voor Nikki Giovanni op dit blog.


A Historical Footnote to Consider Only When All Else Fails
(For Barbara Crosby)

While it is true
(though only in a factual sense)
That in the wake of a
Her-I-can comes a
Surely I am not
The gravitating force
that keeps this house
full of panthers

Why, LBJ has made it
quite clear to me
He doesn’t give a
Good goddamn what I think
(else why would he continue to masterbate in public?)

Rhythm and Blues is not
The downfall of a great civilization
And I expect you to
That the Temptations
have no connection with

We must move on to
the true issues of
Our time
like the mini-skirt
And perhaps take a
Closer look at
Flour power

It is for Us
to lead our people
out of the
into the streets
into the streets
(for safety reasons only)
Lord knows we don’t
Want to lose the
of our Jewish friends

So let us work
for our day of Presence
When Stokely is in
The Black House
And all will be right with
Our World

Nikki Giovanni (Knoxville, 7 juni 1943)


De Amerikaanse schrijver Harry Crews werd geboren op 7 juni 1935 in Bacon County, Georgia. Zie ook alle tags voor Harry Crews op dit blog.

Uit: Classic Crews: A Harry Crews Reader

“He was smiling, but he’d said it with just the finest edge of contempt, which is the way you are supposed to say it, and I scrambled to follow him, my heart lifting. Byron had heard me ask him much the same thing many times before, because if you change a couple of words, the question will serve in any number of circumstances. And now, in great high spirits, he was giving it back to me. …
“Dad, you remember about the time with the rain?”
“The time about the rain? Hell, son, we been in the rain a lot together.” I was wet and my feet hurt. I wanted to get the tent up and start a fire.
He cut his eyes toward me. Drops of rain hung on the ends of his fine lashes. He was suddenly very serious. What in the hell was coming down here? What was coming down was the past that is never past and, in this case, the past against which I had no defense except my own failed heart.
“We weren’t in it together,” he said. “You made me stand in it. Stand in it for a long time.”
Yes, I had done that, but I had not thought about it in years. It’s just not the sort of thing a man would want to think about. Byron’s mother had gone North for a while and left me to take care of him. He was seven years old and just starting in the second grade. I had told him that day to be home at six o’clock and we should go out to dinner. Truthfully, we’d been out to eat every night since Sally had been gone, because washing dishes is right up at the top of the list of things I won’t do. It had started misting rain at midday and had not stopped. Byron had not appeared at six, nor was he there at 6:45. That was back when I was bad to go to the bottle, and while I wasn’t drunk, I wasn’t sober, either. Lay it on the whiskey. A man will snatch at any straw to save himself from the responsibility of an ignoble action. When he did come home at 7:15, I asked him where he’d been.
“At Joe’s,” he said. But I had known that. I reminded him of when we had said we were going to dinner. But he had known that.
“It was raining,” he said.
I said, “Let’s go out and look at it.”
We went out into the carport and watched the warm spring rain.”

Harry Crews (7 juni 1935 – 28 maart 2012)


De Amerikaanse dichteres en schrijfster Louise Erdrich werd geboren op 7 juni 1954 in Little Falls, Minnesota. Zie ook alle tags voor Louise Erdrich op dit blog.


The King of Owls

It is said that playing cards were invented in 1392 to cure the French king, Charles VI, of madness. The suits in some of the first card packs consisted of Doves, Peacocks, Ravens, and Owls.

They say I am excitable! How could
I not scream? The Swiss monk’s tonsure
spun till it blurred yet his eyes were still.
I snapped my gaiter, hard, to stuff back

my mirth. Lords, he then began to speak.
Indus catarum, he said, presenting the game of cards
in which the state of the world is excellent described
and figured. He decked his mouth

as they do, a solemn stitch, and left cards
in my hands. I cast them down.
What need have I for amusement?
My brain’s a park. Yet your company

plucked them from the ground and began to play.
Lords, I wither. The monk spoke right,
the mealy wretch. The sorry patterns show
the deceiving constructions of your minds.

I have made the Deuce of Ravens my sword
falling through your pillows and rising,
the wing blades still running
with the jugular blood. Your bodies lurch

through the steps of an unpleasant dance.
No lutes play. I have silenced the lutes!
I keep watch in the clipped, convulsed garden.
I must have silence, to hear the messenger’s footfall

in my brain. For I am the King of Owls.
Where I float no shadow falls.
I have hungers, such terrible hungers, you cannot know.
Lords, I sharpen my talons on your bones.

Louise Erdrich (Little Falls, 7 juni 1954)


De Duitstalige dichteres Mascha Kaléko (eig. Golda Malka Aufen) werd geboren op 7 juni 1907 in Krenau of Schidlow in Galicië in het toenmalige Oostenrijk-Hongarije, nu Polen. Zie ook alle tags voor Mascha Kaléko op dit blog.


Langschläfers Morgenlied

Der Wecker surrt. Das alberne Geknatter
Reißt mir das schönste Stück des Traums entzwei.
Ein fleißig Radio übt schon sein Geschnatter.
Pitt äußert, daß es Zeit zum Aufstehn sei.

Mir ist vor Frühaufstehern immer bange.
… Das können keine wackern Männer sein:
Ein guter Mensch schläft meistens gern und lange.
– Ich bild mir diesbezüglich etwas ein …

Das mit der goldgeschmückten Morgenstunde
Hat sicher nur das Lesebuch erdacht.
Ich ruhe sanft. – Aus einem kühlen Grunde:
Ich hab mir niemals was aus Gold gemacht.

Der Wecker surrt. Pitt malt in düstern Sätzen
Der Faulheit Wirkung auf den Lebenslauf.
Durchs Fenster hört man schon die Autos hetzen.
– Ein warmes Bett ist nicht zu unterschätzen.
… Und dennoch steht man alle Morgen auf.

Mascha Kaléko (7 juni 1907 – 21 januari 1975)


De Nederlandse dichter Johannes Aloysius Antonius Engelman werd geboren in Utrecht op 7 juni 1900. Zie ook alle tags voor Jan Engelman op dit blog.


Gebed in ’t Duister

Heer, behoed haar in de wereld
die ik lang mijn eigen noem.
In haar ogen staat bepereld
met uw eigen dauw de bloem

van een onverwelkbaar minnen
uit de grond der ziel geteeld.
En geen stervling zal bezinnen
op het eeuwig Aanvangsbeeld

lijk uw knecht, die hare leden
in het schemerlicht onthult,
die zich, stamelend gebeden,
aan háár wil alleen vervult.

Lang voor ’t eerste dagegloren,
lang na Venus’ gouden schijn
kniel ik, uwe stem te horen
uit die weelde, uit die pijn,

uit die tuin, bedekt, bedwereld
met een bloesem van Voorheen.
Heer, behoed haar in de wereld,
doe uw mantel om ons heen!


Klein Air

Morgen drink ik rode wijn,
morgen zal mijn lief hier zijn.
In de warme lampeschijn
zal zij liggen, bleek en fijn.
Wilder dan een springfontein
breek ik uit, en ben weer klein
bij haar leden, zoet satijn,
diepe bedding, dieper pijn.
Morgen drink ik rode wijn,
morgen zal mijn lief hier zijn.

Jan Engelman (Utrecht 7 juni 1900 ;Amsterdam 20 maart 1972)
Engelman helemaal links tijdens de uitreiking van de ANWB-prijs 1958


De Amerikaanse dichteres Gwendolyn Brooks werd geboren op 7 juni 1917 in Topeka, Kansas. Zie ook alle tags voor Gwendolyn Brooks op dit blog.


Speech To The Young : Speech To The Progress-Toward

Say to them,
say to the down-keepers,
the sun-slappers,
the self-soilers,
the harmony-hushers,
“even if you are not ready for day
it cannot always be night.”
You will be right.
For that is the hard home-run.

Live not for battles won.
Live not for the-end-of-the-song.
Live in the along.


The Good Man

The good man.
He is still enhancer, renouncer.
In the time of detachment,
in the time of the vivid heather and affectionate evil,
in the time of oral
grave grave legalities of hate – all real
walks our prime registered reproach and seal.
Our successful moral.
The good man.

Watches our bogus roses, our rank wreath, our
love’s unreliable cement, the gray
jubilees of our demondom.
Counsel! Good man.
Require of us our terribly excluded blue.
Constrain, repair a ripped, revolted land.
Put hand in hand land over.
the abler droughts and manias of the day
and a felicity entreat.
your pledges, reinforce your aides, renew
stance, testament.

Gwendolyn Brooks (7 juni 1917 – 3 december 2000)
In 1996


De Ierse schrijfster Elizabeth Bowen werd geboren op 7 juni 1899 in Dublin. Zie ook alle tags voor Elizabeth Bowen op dit blog.

Uit: Friends and Relations

“Now the service was over the afternoon steadily brightened. The open-sided marquee was not, after all, to prove a fiasco. Laurel and Edward, obedient to Mrs Studdart’s instructions, took up their position in the morning-room. A playing-card, overlooked, lay face down on the carpet. Edward stooped for it – ‘Don’t!’ she cried, ‘leave it!’ her heart in her mouth. Better not – Finding themselves still alone Edward and she kissed hastily, with a feverish calm. They had all time, but only the moment. Then Laurel arranged her train in a pool, as she had seen brides do. Mrs Studdart, coming in shortly afterwards, re-arranged it.
‘You might hold your lilies,’ said Mrs Studdart, who had discovered the sheaf on a hall table specially cleared for the top-hats.
‘Oh, Mother, I can’t; they’re heavy.’
‘But don’t you think it would be nice, Edward, if she were to hold her lilies?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Edward. ‘Do people generally?’
‘They’d be such a strain on one arm all the time. You see I can’t change them; I must keep my right arm for shaking hands.’
‘And shake hands lightly,’ said Mrs Studdart, ‘don’t grip.’
‘Did I look …?’
‘Lovely, lovely,’ said Mrs Studdart. She was looking round distractedly for a vase and soon found one, a kind of Italian urn in which she arranged the lilies beside the bride.
The house might have been designed for such an occasion. The position of the morning-room was admirable; it had two doors so that the guests could circulate through a chain of rooms. Each, having saluted the bridal pair, was to pass on through the dining-room; through the French window and out by duck-boards into the open- sided marquee. (This was the best of a summer wedding; to make this possible he and she had devoured each other nervously throughout the endless winter of their engagement.) In the dining-room Cousin Richard was to be posted to head the guests off through the window. He would be shot, he said, if he let one past him into the hall.
‘I shall depend upon you, Richard,’ said Mrs Studdart. (He had been in the Colonies.) ‘For if the two streams mix in the hall and people get squeezed back into the drawing-room and have to pass Laurel all over again, there will be the most shocking confusion.’

Elizabeth Bowen (7 juni 1899 – 22 februari 1973)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 7e juni ook mijn blog van 7 juni 2015 deel 2.

Orhan Pamuk, Monika Mann, Nikki Giovanni, Harry Crews, Louise Erdrich, Mascha Kaléko, Jan Engelman, Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Bowen

De Turkse schrijver Orhan Pamuk werd geboren op 7 juni 1952 in Istanbul. Zie ook alle tags voor Orhan Pamuk op dit blog.

Uit: The New Life (Vertaald door Guneli Gun)

“I read a book one day and my whole life was changed. Even on the first page I was so affected by the book’s intensity I felt my body sever itself and pull away from the chair where I sat reading the book that lay before me on the table. But even though I felt my body dissociating, my entire being remained so concertedly at the table that the book worked its influence not only on my soul but on every aspect of my identity. It was such a powerful influence that the light surging from the pages illumined my face; its incandescence dazzled my intellect but also endowed it with brilliant lucidity. This was the kind of light within which I could recast myself; I could lose my way in this light; I already sensed in the light the shadows of an existence I had yet to know and embrace. I sat at the table, turning the pages, my mind barely aware that I was reading, and my whole life was changing as I read the new words on each new page. I felt so unprepared for everything that was to befall me, and so helpless, that after a while I moved my face away instinctively as if to protect myself from the power that surged from the pages. It was with dread that I became aware of the complete transformation of the world around me, and I was overtaken by a feeling of loneliness I had never before experienced—as if I had been stranded in a country where I knew neither the lay of the land nor the language and the customs.
I fastened onto the book even more intensely in the face of the helplessness brought on by that feeling of isolation. Nothing besides the book could reveal to me what was my necessary course of action, what it was that I might believe in, or observe, and what path my life was to take in the new country in which I found myself. I read on, turning the pages now as if I were reading a guidebook which would lead me through a strange and savage land. Help me, I felt like saying, help me find the new life, safe and unscathed by any mishap. Yet I knew the new life was built on words in the guidebook. I read it word for word, trying to find my path, but at the same time I was also imagining, to my own amazement, wonders upon wonders which would surely lead me astray.
The book lay on my table reflecting its light on my face, yet it seemed similar to the other familiar objects in the room. While I accepted with joy and wonder the possibility of a new life in the new world that lay before me, I was aware that the book which had changed my life so intensely was in fact something quite ordinary. My mind gradually opened its doors and windows to the wonders of the new world the words promised me, and yet I seemed to recall a chance encounter that had led me to the book. But the memory was no more than a superficial image, one that hadn’t completely impressed itself on my consciousness. As I read on, a certain dread prompted me to reflect on the image: the new world the book revealed was so alien, so odd and astonishing that, in order to escape being totally immersed in this universe, I was anxious to sense anything related to the present ».

Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul, 7 juni 1952)

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Orhan Pamuk, Monika Mann, Nikki Giovanni, Harry Crews, Louise Erdrich, Mascha Kaléko, Jan Engelman

De Turkse schrijver Orhan Pamuk werd geboren op 7 juni 1952 in Istanbul. Zie ook alle tags voor Orhan Pamuk op dit blog.

Uit: Dat vreemde in mijn hoofd (Vertaald door Hanneke van der Heijden en Margreet Dorleijn)

“Dit is het verhaal van het leven en de dromen van Mevlut Karataş, venter van boza en yoghurt. Mevlut werd in 1957 geboren in het westelijkste deel van Azië, in een armoedig Centraal-Anatolisch dorp, niet ver van een meer, dat je in de verte nevelig kon zien liggen. Op zijn twaalfde kwam hij naar Istanbul, de hoofdstad van de wereld, waar hij de rest van zijn leven zou doorbrengen. Toen hij vijfentwintig was schaakte hij een meisje, wat nogal vreemd verliep, de gebeurtenis bepaalde zijn hele verdere leven. Hij keerde terug naar Istanbul, trouwde en kreeg twee dochters. Hij werkte aan één stuk door en had allerlei baantjes, zo ventte hij yoghurt, werkte als ijscoman, verkocht rijst met kikkererwten, was kelner. Maar wat voor werk hij ook deed, het venten van boza en het verzinnen van vreemde dromen ’s avonds in de straten van Istanbul zou hij nooit opgeven.
Onze hoofdpersoon, Mevlut, was lang, hij had een sterk en tegelijk rank lichaam, en zag er goed uit. Hij had een jongensachtig gezicht dat vrouwen vertederde, donkerblond haar, en een oplettende en intelligente blik. Voor een beter begrip van het verhaal zal ik mijn lezers hier en daar nog eens aan die twee kenmerken van Mevlut herinneren, namelijk dat zijn gezicht niet alleen in zijn jeugd maar ook na zijn veertigste iets jongensachtigs had, en dat vrouwen hem knap vonden. Dat Mevlut altijd optimistisch en vol goede bedoelingen was – naïef volgens sommigen – hoef ik niet apart in herinnering te brengen, dat zult u vanzelf wel zien. Hadden mijn lezers net als ik met Mevlut kennis kunnen maken, dan zouden ze de vrouwen, die hem knap en jongensachtig vonden, gelijk gegeven hebben en hebben toegegeven dat ik niet overdrijf omwille van een kleurrijker verhaal. Laat ik meteen van de gelegenheid gebruikmaken om te zeggen dat dit boek geheel op ware gebeurtenissen berust, dat ik nergens de zaken zal aandikken, maar me ertoe beperk een aantal vreemde gebeurtenissen, die nu eenmaal hebben plaatsgevonden, op een rijtje te zetten zodat mijn lezers ze beter kunnen volgen.”

Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul, 7 juni 1952)

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Orhan Pamuk, Monika Mann, Nikki Giovanni, Harry Crews, Louise Erdrich, Mascha Kaléko

De Turkse schrijver Orhan Pamuk werd geboren op 7 juni 1952 in Istanbul. Zie ook alle tags voor Orhan Pamuk op dit blog.

Uit: Istanbul. Herinneringen en de stad

“Ik woonde met mijn vader, moeder en broer, en de familie van mijn vader, zijn moeder, boers, zussen en schoonzussen, op de verschillende etages van een flat van vijf verdiepingen. De riante stenen villa waar ze met z’n allen als een Osmaanse grootfamilie hadden gewoond, werd in 1951, een jaar voor mijn geboorte, verlaten en aan een particuliere lagere school verhuurd, en op het aanpalende perceel werd een ‘moderne’ flat gebouwd, waar ik nu de vierde verdieping bewoon, en waar op de buitendeur, geheel volgens de toen heersende mode, trots de naam Pamuk werd geschilderd. Op iedere verdieping, waar ik de eerste jaren op de arm van m’n moeder kwam, stonden een of twee piano’s. Mijn oom, die in mijn herinnering altijd de krant zit te lezen, was als laatste getrouwd en had zich met zijn vrouw en zijn piano op de eerste verdieping gevestigd, waar hij vervolgens een halve eeuw door zou brengen, kijkend naar de voorbijgangers op straat. Al die piano’s, die geen van alle bespeeld werden, gaven me een gevoel van weemoed en zwaarmoedigheid.
Het was niet alleen dat die piano’s niet bespeeld werden, de buffetkasten, waar het achter de ruitjes propvol stond met Chinees porselein, kopjes, tafelzilver, suikerpotten, snuifdozen, kristallen glazen, flacons voor rozenwater, borden, wierookvaatjes (en een speelgoedautootje dat zich op een dag daartussen had verstopt), zaten ook altijd op slot, de met parelmoer ingelegde koranlessenaars, de standaards voor tulbanden aan de muur werden nooit gebruikt, er was niets wat aan het zicht onttrokken werd door de kamerschermen met art nouveau en Japanse invloeden, de deurtjes van de boekenkasten van mijn oom die naar Amerika was geëmigreerd en dokter was, gingen nooit open en zijn ingebonden medicijnenstudies stonden al twintig jaar achter het glas te verstoffen, en dat alles gaf mij het gevoel dat al die spullen waarmee de woonkamers op iedere verdieping waren volgestouwd, niet waren uitgestald om ermee te leven, maar voor de dood.”


Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul, 7 juni 1952)

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Orhan Pamuk, Monika Mann, Nikki Giovanni, Harry Crews, Louise Erdrich, Mascha Kaléko


De Turkse schrijver Orhan Pamuk werd geboren op 7 juni 1952 in Istanbul. Zie ook alle tags voor Orhan Pamuk op dit blog.

Uit:Silent House (Vertaald door Robert Finn)

“Dinner is nearly ready, Madam,” I said. “Please come to the table.”
She said nothing, just stood there, planted on her cane. I went over, took her by the arm, and brought her to the table. She just muttered a little. I went down to the kitchen, got her tray, and put it in front of her. She looked at it but didn’t touch the food. I got out her napkin, stretched it out under her huge ears, and knotted it.
“Well, what did you make tonight?” she said. “Let’s see what you put together.”
“Baked eggplant,” I said. “You requested it yesterday, right?”
She looked at me.
I slid the plate in front of her. She pushed the food around with her fork, complaining to herself. After picking at it a little, she began to eat. “Madam, don’t forget your salad,” I said before going inside and sitting down to my own eggplant.
A little later, she called out, “Salt. Recep, where’s the salt?” I went back out and saw it was right in front of her.
“Here it is!”
“Well, this is a new one,” she said. “Why do you go inside when I’m eating?”
I didn’t answer.
“They’re coming tomorrow, aren’t they?”
“They’re coming, Madam, they’re coming,” I said. “Weren’t you going to put some salt on that?”
“You mind your own business!” she said. “Are they coming?”
“Tomorrow afternoon,” I said. “They called, you know.”
“What else have you got?”
I took the uneaten eggplant back, ladled a good portion of beans onto a fresh plate, and brought it out to her. When she’d lost interest in the beans and started stirring them around, I returned to the kitchen and sat down to resume my supper. A little later she called out again, this time for pepper, but I pretended not to hear her. When she cried Fruit! I went in and pushed the fruit bowl in front of her.”


Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul, 7 juni 1952)

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Orhan Pamuk, Monika Mann, Nikki Giovanni, Harry Crews, Louise Erdrich, Mascha Kaléko

De Turkse schrijver Orhan Pamuk werd geboren op 7 juni 1952 in Istanbul. Zie ook alle tags voor Orhan Pamuk op dit blog.


Uit: Istanbul. Memories and the City (Vertaald door Maureen Freely)

“Here we come to the heart of the matter: I’ve never left Istanbul – never left the houses, streets and neighbourhoods of my childhood. Although I’ve lived in other districts from time to time, fifty years on I find myself back in the Pamuk Apartments, where my first photographs were taken and where my mother first held me in her arms to show me the world. I know this persistence owes something to my imaginary friend, and to the solace I took from the bond between us. But we live in an age defined by mass migration and creative immigrants, and so I am sometimes hard-pressed to explain why I’ve stayed not only in the same place, but the same building. My mother’s sorrowful voice comes back to me, ‘Why don’t you go outside for a while, why don’t you try a change of scene, do some travelling …?’

Conrad, Nabokov, Naipaul – these are writers known for having managed to migrate between languages, cultures, countries, continents, even civilisations. Their imaginations were fed by exile, a nourishment drawn not through roots but through rootlessness; mine, however, requires that I stay in the same city, on the same street, in the same house, gazing at the same view. Istanbul’s fate is my fate: I am attached to this city because it has made me who I am.

Flaubert, who visited Istanbul a hundred and two years before my birth, was struck by the variety of life in its teeming streets; in one of his letters he predicted that in a century’s time it would be the capital of the world. The reverse came true: after the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the world almost forgot that Istanbul existed. The city into which I was born was poorer, shabbier, and more isolated than it had ever been its two-thousand-year history. For me it has always been a city of ruins and of end-of-empire melancholy. I’ve spent my life either battling with this melancholy, or (like all Istanbullus) making it my own.

At least once in a lifetime, self-reflection leads us to examine the circumstances of our birth. Why were we born in this particular corner of the world, on this particular date? These families into which we were born, these countries and cities to which the lottery of life has assigned us – they expect love from us, and in the end, we do love them, from the bottom of our hearts – but did we perhaps deserve better?”




Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul, 7 juni 1952)

Continue reading “Orhan Pamuk, Monika Mann, Nikki Giovanni, Harry Crews, Louise Erdrich, Mascha Kaléko”

Orhan Pamuk, Monika Mann, Nikki Giovanni, Harry Crews, Louise Erdrich, Mascha Kaléko

De Turkse schrijver Orhan Pamuk werd geboren op 7 juni 1952 in Istanbul. Zie ook alle tags voor Orhan Pamuk op dit blog.

Uit: Snow (Vertaald door Maureen Freely)

„As he watched the snow fall outside his window, as slowly and silently as the snow in a dream, the traveler fell into a long-desired, long-awaited reverie; cleansed by memories of innocence and childhood, he succumbed to optimism and dared to believe himself at home in this world. Soon afterward, he felt something else that he had not known for quite a long time and fell asleep in his seat.
Let us take advantage of this lull to whisper a few biographical details. Although he had spent the last twelve years in political exile in Germany, our traveler had never been very much involved in politics. His real passion, his only thought, was for poetry. He was forty-two years old and single, never married. Although it might be hard to tell as he curled up in his seat, he was tall for a Turk, with brown hair and a pale complexion that had become even paler during this journey. He was shy and enjoyed being alone. Had he known what would happen soon after he fell asleep—with the swaying of the bus his head would come to lean first on his neighbor’s shoulder and then on the man’s chest—he would have been very much ashamed. For the traveler we see leaning on his neighbor is an honest and well-meaning man and full of melancholy, like those Chekhov characters so laden with virtues that they never know success in life. We’ll have a lot to say about melancholy later on. But as he is not likely to remain asleep for very long in that awkward position, suffice it for now to say that the traveler’s name is Kerim Alakusoglu, that he doesn’t like this name but prefers to be called Ka (from his initials), and that I’ll be doing the same in this book. Even as a schoolboy, our hero stubbornly insisted on writing Ka on his homework and exam papers; he signed Ka on university registration forms; and he took every opportunity to defend his right to continue to do so, even if it meant conflict with teachers and government officials. His mother, his family, and his friends all called him Ka, and, having also published some poetry collections under this name, he enjoyed a small enigmatic fame as Ka, both in Turkey and in Turkish circles in Germany.“

Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul, 7 juni 1952)

Continue reading “Orhan Pamuk, Monika Mann, Nikki Giovanni, Harry Crews, Louise Erdrich, Mascha Kaléko”